Learning Yoga Advice from Punyah Yoga Founder, Hemant Singh

Hemant Singh, the founder of Punyah Yoga, wants to share his thoughts on establishing one's daily practice of Ashtanga yoga for beginners.

To start, it is important that you learn and practice under the guidance of a regular practitioner. Choose one who has studied the Ashtanga method from the right source and Paramapara (which is Sanskrit for lineage).

Make it a habit of going to a yoga studio/centre near you and try to show up each and every day, regardless of how good or bad you do in the class. Ego might come faster than you think. You might want to enter into a particular pose from the first day just by looking around and seeing other regular practitioners. That you must avoid, as it may happen each day. Do not push unnecessarily in the beginning.

In Ashtanga, learning varies from person to person. I always advise new students to watch and learn from the first row of students by observing their practice as they move through the sequence themselves. Try to be present on your mat and move swiftly with your breath. With time, your body will change and your understanding of this sequence will naturally improve. Do not hurry. Give yourself time and start at a moderate pace. Follow the guidance of your teacher.

Remember, one breath per movement. Patiently focus and be aware of the next step in the practice. It will take time, lots of time, maybe even more time than you think. Once you are consistent, the rhythm of breath will appear by itself.

Side by side, Yama and Niyama should be followed as they play a large role in your practice. Without them, yoga practice is of no use.

Ashtanga practice is simply a breathing practice as taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois.

Remember that there is no authentic yoga method that is a competition or a performance. The practice of the Ashtanga yoga method is challenging and it demands a high level of discipline. Discipline is the first and foremost foundation of your yoga practice. Without discipline, mastery cannot exist.